Metaleptic & pseudo-diegetic narration in Dennis Potter's Karaoke / Cold Lazarus

Renaat Vandekerkhof, Silvia Van Aken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article will explore the types of relations between different narrative levels in Dennis Potter’s final television series Karaoke/Cold Lazarus (1996), which were first screened on the BBC and Channel 4 two years after the British screenwriter’s death. Our research interest concerns metalepsis, the transgression of the diegetic boundaries between narrative levels. In this article, we will discuss the metaleptic device that unfurls itself within Cold Lazarus. Therefore, we will analyse its narrative function and strategy to appeal to the spectator. To explore this device, it is useful to compare it with two similar concepts as practiced in Karaoke: mise en abyme (in this case, a series within a series) and pseudo-diegetic narration (an event is told as if it was real, but is actually represented as a story or a hallucination). To discuss illustrations of both series, we will combine a stylistic, a structuralist and a cognitive approach to study its narrative structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-101
JournalImage & Narrative
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • British television studies


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